Iran News Round Up
The Iran News Round Up ran from February 2009-September 2018. Visit the Iran File for the latest analysis.
A selection of the latest news stories and editorials published in Iranian news outlets, compiled by AEI Critical Threats Project Iran Analysts Mehrdad Moarefian, Marie Donovan, and Paul Bucala, with contributors Ryan Melvin, Caitlin Pendleton, and Jordan Olmstead. To receive this daily newsletter, please subscribe online.
(E) = Article in English
Excerpts of these translations may only be used with the expressed consent of the authors.
The Critical Threats Project has been tracking activities and announcements in Iran, with a focus on political, military, economic, and nuclear developments, as well as Iran's response to regional crises. The Situation Report provides analytical context and assessments to the aforementioned data points. Do not click any links in this email; to minimize the risk of virus, malware, and spyware exposure, use a VPN connection.
Key takeaway: President Hassan Rouhani said that he “does not see a coalition between Iran and Russia for fighting terrorism in Syria.” Senior government officials continued to accuse Saudi Arabia of being responsible for the September 24 stampede outside of Mecca.
President Hassan Rouhani claimed that Iran and the U.S. have a “long way to travel” before relations between the two countries can be normalized during an interview in New York. In response to reports about Iran-Russian cooperation in Syria, Rouhani stated that he “does not see a coalition between Iran and Russia for fighting terrorism in Syria.”
The Head of Iran’s Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization Saeed Ohadi announced that at least 131 Iranians were killed in the September 24 stampede in the town of Mina, outside of Mecca. Assembly of Experts Chairman Ayatollah Mohammad Yazdi and Interim Tehran Friday Prayer Leader Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami blamed the stampede on Saudi Arabia’s “incompetence.” Meanwhile, Head of IRGC Public Affairs Brigadier General 2C Ramezan Sharif stated that the IRGC Air Force is prepared to send medical aid and transport Iranian victims back to Iran.
The Critical Threats Project of the American Enterprise Institute has created several pages on Iran Tracker to help clarify the hyper complex language of sanctions relief under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and to provide additional information about some of the entities that will be freed of international restrictions.
AEI Resident Fellow J. Matthew McInnis analyzes the effectiveness of Iranian policy in Iraq and discusses reports that Tehran’s leadership has reigned in IRGC Quds Force Commander Qassem Soleimani in his most recent blog post, “Is Iran’s strategy in Iraq adrift?”
Regional Developments and Diplomacy
Rouhani: “I do not see a coalition between Iran and Russia for fighting terrorism in Syria.”President Hassan Rouhani discussed Russia’s efforts in Syria during an interview with reporters in New York. In response to reports about Iran-Russian cooperation, Rouhani stated, “I do not see a coalition between Iran and Russia for fighting terrorism in Syria.” Regarding Iran-U.S. relations, Rouhani stated that “there is a long way to travel” before Iran can normalize relations with the U.S. (IRIB)
Rouhani expresses condolences to victims of the Hajj stampede. President Hassan Rouhani arrived in New York on September 24 to attend the 70th annual session of the UN General Assembly. Rouhani expressed his condolences to the families of the Hajj pilgrims killed in Mina and announced, “I have tasked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to contact the Saudi authorities and to take necessary actions.” (President.ir)
Ohadi: 131 Iranians killed in Hajj stampede. Saeed Ohadi announced that at least 131 Iranians were killed during the Hajj stampede. The Head of Iran’s Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization added that the number of Iranian fatalities may be higher.(Press TV) (E)
Rafsanjani: “Saudi Arabia is responsible” for the Hajj stampede. Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani expressed his condolences to the victims of the Hajj stampede, stating, "I regret with sorrow and sympathy this tragic disaster to all Muslims, to Iran's people and especially the families who have lost loved ones..." The Expediency Discernment Council Chairman stated that "Saudi Arabia is responsible" and "must explain to the Muslim world" how such a disaster occurred. (Entekhab)
Shamkhani: We have formed a special committee in response to the Hajj stampede.Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Secretary Ali Shamkhani stated that the SNSC has formed a “special committee with representatives from the relevant government agencies” to coordinate relief efforts and release information on Iranian citizens that were victims in the stampede. Shamkhani also criticized Saudi Arabia for its “mismanagement and misplaced priorities.” He stated that Saudi Arabia’s focus on “oppressing the Muslim people of Bahrain” and “acting aggressively towards Yemen” instead of ensuring the safety of Hajj pilgrims ultimately had a “defining role in the outbreak of this crisis.” (IRNA)
Boroujerdi: Saudi reports on the Hajj incidents are "unreliable." Alaeddin Boroujerdi stated that the Saudi reports on the Hajj stampede are "unreliable" and "urged [the Ministry of Foreign Affairs] to dispatch a truth-finding committee to investigate [the] disastrous events..." The National Security and Foreign Policy (NSFP) Parliamentary Commission Chairman added, "We do not trust [the Saudis] as they do not let officials of Islamic countries visit medical centers in charge of caring [for] the pilgrims victimized in Mina." (Mehr News) (E)
Zarif issues statement on Hajj stampede. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif released a statement expressing his condolences to victims of the Hajj stampede. Zarif stated that the incident brought a “wave of grief to the region concurrently with Eid-e Qorbon [Feast of Sacrifice].” (ABNA)
Yazdi: The Hajj stampede shows that Saudi Arabia is incompetent. Ayatollah Mohammad Yazdi claimed, “The incident in Mina shows that the people who consider themselves the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques are incompetent.” The Assembly of Experts Chairman added, “The reasons of this incompetence are Saudi Arabia’s dependency on the U.S. and [Saudi Arabia’s] internal problems.” (IRIB)
Khatami calls for investigation on Hajj stampede. Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami blamed the stampede on Saudi Arabia’s “incompetence and mismanagement” during a news interview. The Interim Tehran Friday Prayer Leader also called for Islamic countries to form a court to investigate the “criminals” responsible for the stampede. (Rasa News)
Larijani calls on Riyadh to explain stampede incident. Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani issued a statement demanding that the Saudi government “perform its duties with tact and commitment” in regards to protecting Muslim pilgrims. (ICANA)
- Sharif: The IRGC Air Force is ready to help transport victims of the stampede. Head of IRGC Public Affairs Brig. Gen. 2C Ramezan Sharif claimed that the IRGC Air Force is prepared to send medical aid and transport victims of the Hajj stampede. (Sepah News)
- Ayatollah Ahmad Alamo ol Hoda: We must not allow the enemy to influence the political system. Mashhad Friday Prayer Leader and Assembly of Experts member Ayatollah Ahmad Alam ol Hoda stressed the importance of the upcoming Assembly of Experts and parliamentary elections during an interview with Tasnim News Agency. Ayatollah Ahmad Alam ol Hoda warned that these elections might allow “political currents influenced by the enemy to influence the political system of the Islamic Republic.” (Tasnim News Agency)